Only a few days after NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the league’s coronavirus-driven hiatus would extend for “at least 30 days,” that window may be extending to a significant degree.
On Sunday evening, the CDC announced interim guidance in dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic, and the update includes a recommended ban on gatherings with 50 or more people for the next eight weeks.
Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.
Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
The recommendation does allow for exceptions for “schools, institutes of higher learning or businesses,” while noting that it is “made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus.”
While the eight-week timetable would extend until May 10, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that some NBA insiders believe a “best case scenario” would be a relaunch of the league in mid-to-late June.
CDC recommendation of no events of 50-plus people for next two months comes as a number of NBA owners and executives increasingly believe a best case scenario is a mid-to-late June return to play -- with no fans. League's scouting for possible arena dates all the way thru August.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 15, 2020
That is a jarring proposed break that would extend for more than three months and, while nothing is official, it would undoubtedly create more questions with regard to the end of the regular season, playoff format and offseason-based activities like the NBA Draft. From there, Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews also report that the 2019-20 G League season appears to be coming to an end, impacting the College Park SkyHawks in their inaugural campaign.
Reporting with @malika_andrews: NBA teams operating G League franchises expect rest of the minor-league season will soon be cancelled, sources tell ESPN. Regular season runs thru end of March, playoffs into April. Players have been informed they'll be paid thru end of schedule.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 15, 2020
First and foremost, the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the health of people around the world, and the fallout goes well beyond sports. Still, the impact on the sports world is already massive and, if this reporting proves accurate, it will be a (very) long time before NBA basketball is played.